Saudi Arabia has approached top executives in European soccer to gain support for its 2034 World Cup bid to host the tournament in the Kingdom.
According to the London Times, the Saudis insist they can host the World Cup in the summer despite the challenge of hot temperatures. Qatar, which borders Saudi Arabia, held the 2022 World Cup in November and December to avoid playing in the extreme heat of the summer months.
Should FIFA return to Saudi Arabia for the 2034 World Cup, it would be the second time hosting the tournament in the Arab world after Qatar. Saudi Arabia initially considered placing a joint bid with Egypt and Greece to host the 2030 World Cup but has reportedly focused on hosting the 2034 edition alone.
Saudi Arabia’s plea to secure backing for its World Cup bid from European officials comes as the Saudi Pro League has explored joining the UEFA Champions League. The SPL currently competes in the Asian Football Confederation Champions League. A move to the UCL would allow its teams to compete against the world’s best. Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar, Karim Benzema, and Jordan Henderson joined the SPL after illustrious careers in Europe’s top leagues.
Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund also owns Newcastle United of the English Premier League. Soccer only marks a fraction of the country’s sports splurge as the Saudi government also owns LIV Golf and recently invested in the Professional Fighters League.